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What to Say at Time of Grief and Can't Never Could
Posted by: admin - April 20, 2007
I recently had occasion to attend the wake and funeral of a business acquaintance, and though I felt a loss, it wasn’t by any means a devastating one. I found myself listening objectively to some things that were said to the family, and frankly was appalled at some of them. If I heard once, I heard several times “he’s in a better place now.” You know, he might be, but that struck me as being so insensitive to his family who was grieving and missing him. Are there right and wrong things to say at a time like this?
Wondering What to Say
I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong, but I do think there are perhaps “better” and “worse” things to keep in mind saying and sharing at times of loss and grief. In my opinion, you mentioned one of the worst things that can be said. Some others to keep in mind are:
At least she lived a long life.
There is a reason for everything.
He was such a good person; God wanted her to be with Him.
I know how you feel.
She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go.
Consider replacing these with what I think are some of the healthiest and most healing things that we can express:
I am so sorry for your loss.
I wish I had the right words, just know I care.
I don’t know how you feel, but I’m here if I can help in any way.
You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers.
My favorite memory of your loved one is….
And remember, if you don’t know what to say or can’t remember any of this, consider just giving a hug or loving touch. That may be the most healing thing we can offer at times of grief and loss.
I have a very dear friend that I worry a great deal about lately because she’s constantly telling me she can’t. We talk about changes that both of us want to make, and she’ll get excited at first, then after a little while, she’ll say “I can’t.” Anything you can offer that I can use to help her would be appreciated.
Can’t Never Could
Ask your friend to consider replacing the word “can’t” with “won’t.” Let me explain. "Can’t" means cannot be done. If it can’t be done, then it’s impossible. So, you can’t fly like a bird, walk through walls, or run a two minute mile. All of these statements are true.
Most often though, when we say we can’t do something we’re really saying "I won’t." Won’t means will not. It means, "I choose not to." If we change our words, then our statements to ourselves sound different. It is, "I won’t lose weight, stop smoking, forgive, or I won’t play the piano." All of these are options, but are actually possible; we just choose not to do them. Most of us don’t like this change in words because it confronts us with our responsibility for not acting. After all, if you say you "can’t" do it, then you let yourself off the hook of responsibility. When you say you can’t, you give yourself permission not to try. Taking responsibility for your thoughts and actions puts you in control of yourself, rather than having you feel controlled by habits, emotions, and circumstances.
| | | | Article Posted by: admin
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